Skip to main content

Late August 2010 Newsletter August 2010

Quick Links to Features on

Fight the Capitol...Or Head Back to School?

Down with the Capitol!

Despite the sweltering temps, it’s hard to believe that the end of summer is fast approaching, and the new school year is here for some of you and on the very near horizon for others of you --- and cooler climes are just around the corner. In case you’re in search of a late-season beach book or the perfect excuse to put those assigned reading lists aside for just a few more days, is happy to keep you well-stocked with escapist reads to help you hang on to those carefree dog days just a little bit longer.

While the approach of late August usually summons collective moans and groans, Suzanne Collins offers a fantastic antidote to the back-to-school blues with the release of one of the biggest books of the year, MOCKINGJAY. When I was at a book convention this summer, there was a whole group of teens from California plotting HOW they were going to get their books and read them on the 24th as that was the first day of school for them!


We celebrated the release of this highly anticipated final chapter in The Hunger Games saga with an Unofficial Video Contest. Thank you to all the fans who made videos --- we have loved watching them and are so impressed by everyone's creativity! We've narrowed down the competition to five finalists, which you can see here, but the Grand Prize Winner (who will receive a copy of MOCKINGJAY signed by the author herself) will be announced on Monday, August 23rd.


We’ll post our MOCKINGJAY review shortly after its release on the 24th, but in the meantime, you can check out an updated Q&A with Collins, where she talks about movie adaptations, heavy themes, reality TV, and more.

Speaking of The Hunger Games, in a recent Question of the Month, many of you listed Gale, Katniss and/or Peeta as your favorite couple from a stand-alone or series book. Be sure to weigh in this month about seeing movies before or after reading the books on which they’re based in our current poll and question.


THE CRUISERS, the gritty new novel by bestselling YA heavyweight Walter Dean Myers, follows the trials and tribulations of a group of gifted students with a knack for getting themselves into trouble. To learn more about it, read our review and an excerpt.

John M. Cusick’s GIRL PARTS provides an interesting twist on coming of age in the Technology Age, as Rose --- a “Companion” robot built to be the perfect mate for a teenage boy with emotional issues --- learns the ultimate lessons in life, love, and what it takes to be human. In our interview with the author, Cusick explains what classic tales, '80s sitcoms and personal awkward teenage experiences helped inspire this unusual plot, and describes his ideal Internet-to-real-life ratio. You can read the rest here, along with our review and an excerpt.

We’re also continuing to feature Kristin Billerbeck’s hilarious PERFECTLY DATELESS --- which stars the ever-endearing Daisy Crispin and her endless quest for prom date arm candy --- and The Reinvention of Skylar Holt series by Stephanie Morrill, about a confident and popular high school student looking to turn over a new leaf at the start of her senior year.

There’s no reason why you can't take your beach reads back to the classroom with you, so be sure to check out our Beach Bag of Books titles, as well as the new goodies we’ve added to this month’s Grab Bag of Books contest. You can enter here to win copies of ACCOMPLICE by Eireann Corrigan, THE DEMON KING: A Seven Realms Novel by Cinda Williams Chima, PERFECTLY DATELESS: A Universally Misunderstood Novel by Kristin Billerbeck, ROSE SEES RED by Cecil Castellucci, and RUINED by Paula Morris.

Don’t forget this month’s new reviews, which include Darren Shan’s dark adventure THE THIN EXECUTIONER; the buzzworthy I AM NUMBER FOUR by Pittacus Lore; THE FOOL’S GIRL, Celia Rees’s take on Shakespeare; and Adam Rex’s quirky FAT VAMPIRE. Our Cool New Books and New in Paperback roundups are spotlighting Cassandra Clare’s THE CLOCKWORK ANGEL, THE ETERNAL ONES by Kirstin Miller, David Levithan’s LOVE IS THE HIGHER LAW, and LEVIATHAN by Scott Westerfeld.

And lastly, we all know you love --- after all, why would you come back day after day, month after month, if you didn’t? Well, according to our recent Redesign Survey, we just might be one of the best-kept secrets around, with more than half of you letting us know that you hardly ever share what you read on with others! So, we’d like to ask you to give us a hand spreading the word about us. You can forward the newsletters, reviews, or blog posts with friends and family, post what you like on Facebook, or even just talk us up with some good ol’ fashioned word of mouth!

That said, we appreciate your feedback on the survey, and Maureen Linehan, who managed the survey for us, will be alerting those who will receive prizes for participating. Your feedback was excellent and will help guide us through the redesign process.

We are thinking of starting a new site for people 17-30...we have code-named it CO-20 (I know...we are soooo clever). We want to know what readers in that age group would like to see from a website if we pursue this. If you are 17 or older may we ask you to chime in. Or, can we ask you to please share this link with friends and family who you know who are this age? We appreciate it.

Happy reading!

Carol Fitzgerald (
Click here to see the five finalists in the MOCKINGJAY Unofficial Video Contest.


Author Talk: Suzanne Collins, Author of MOCKINGJAY

Suzanne Collins’s newly released MOCKINGJAY is the third and final installment in the hit series The Hunger Games, and follows reluctant revolutionary Katniss Everdeen in her fight against the ruthless Capitol. In this updated interview, Collins talks about how easy it was to return to the dystopian setting of Panem and describes her involvement with the screenplay for an upcoming big-screen adaptation of the first book in the series. She also explains what prompted her to take on weighty topics in the books, like poverty and oppression, speculates on the current fascination with reality TV, and muses on what’s next for her now that the trilogy has come to a close.


MOCKINGJAY by Suzanne Collins (Science Fiction/Fantasy)

Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. The Capitol is angry and wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what’s worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss’s family, not her friends, not the people of District 12.

We will be posting our review of MOCKINGJAY shortly after its August 24th release date, so please be on the lookout for that!


-Click here to watch a trailer for MOCKINGJAY.
-Click here to visit the official website of The Hunger Games series.


Click here to read an updated interview with Suzanne Collins.


New Special Feature: THE CRUISERS by Walter Dean Myers

THE CRUISERS by Walter Dean Myers (Fiction)
Zander and his friends --- Kambui, LaShonda and Bobbi --- start their own newspaper, The Cruiser, as a means for speaking out, keeping the peace, and expressing what they believe. When the school launches a mock Civil War, Zander and his friends are forced to consider the true meaning of democracy and what it costs to stand up for a cause. The result is nothing they could have expected, and everything they could have hoped for.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE CRUISERS.

-Click here to read Walter Dean Myers’s bio.

Click here to read a review of THE CRUISERS.


New Special Feature: GIRL PARTS by John M. Cusick

Inspired partly by the classic Pinnochio tale and partly by the ’80s family sitcom “Small Wonder,” John M. Cusick’s debut novel, GIRL PARTS, centers on a robot who develops a will of her own with the help of two teenage boys. In this interview with’s Sarah Rachel Egelman, Cusick explains how memories of his awkward adolescence combined with his “geeky” love of science fiction prompted the idea for the book’s plot, and elaborates on its ongoing metaphor for fiction and its ability to teach empathy in others. He also discusses the novel’s slow evolution from first draft to finished product, reflects on technology’s effect on “real life,” and touches upon future projects currently in the works.

GIRL PARTS by John M. Cusick (Fiction)

David and Charlie are opposites. David has a million friends, online and off. Charlie is a soulful outsider, off the grid completely. But neither feels close to anybody. When David’s parents present him with a hot Companion bot designed to encourage healthy bonds and treat his "dissociative disorder," he can’t get enough of luscious redheaded Rose --- and he can’t get it soon. Companions come with strict intimacy protocols, and whenever he tries anything, David gets an electric shock. Parted from the boy she was built to love, Rose turns to Charlie, who finds he can open up, knowing Rose isn’t real. With Charlie’s help, the ideal "companion" is about to become her own best friend.

In a stunning and hilarious debut, John Cusick takes rollicking aim at Internet culture and our craving for meaningful connection in an uberconnected world.


-Click here to read a review of GIRL PARTS.
-Click here to read an excerpt from GIRL PARTS.
-Click here to read John M. Cusick’s bio.

-Click here to watch a trailer for GIRL PARTS.
-Click here to visit the book's official website.
br />

Click here to read our interview with John M. Cusick.


Now in Stores: THE THIN EXECUTIONER by Darren Shan

THE THIN EXECUTIONER by Darren Shan (Fantasy/Horror)

In this daring adventure inspired by a well-known classic, a scrawny young man seeks to become the high executioner of his people --- an esteemed title achieved through trial in battle. Jebel Rum's best hope for winning is in gaining invincibility, and herein lies his story of a year-long quest to the mountain of Tubaygat, where he searches for the herculean gifts bestowed on those willing to sacrifice a slave's life --- in Jebel's case, a friend. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

-Click here to watch Darren Shan read an excerpt from THE THIN EXECUTIONER.


Click here to read a review of THE THIN EXECUTIONER.


Now in Stores: I AM NUMBER FOUR by Pittacus Lore

I AM NUMBER FOUR by Pittacus Lore (Science Fiction)

WE may be walking past you right now. WE are watching as you read this. WE may be in your city, your town. WE are living anonymously. WE are waiting for the day when WE will find each other. WE will make our last stand together. If WE win, WE are saved, and YOU are saved as well. IF WE LOSE, ALL IS LOST. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

-Click here to watch a trailer for I AM NUMBER FOUR.


Click here to read a review of I AM NUMBER FOUR.'s Grab Bag of Books Contest

Every month in our Grab Bag of Books contest, five readers are awarded a signature tote bag filled with some of the hottest books --- and may even include a sneak peek at titles that haven’t been released yet!


This contest period’s winners will each receive a copy of ACCOMPLICE by Eireann Corrigan, THE DEMON KING: A Seven Realms Novel by Cinda Williams Chima, PERFECTLY DATELESS: A Universally Misunderstood Novel by Kristin Billerbeck, ROSE SEES RED by Cecil Castellucci, and RUINED by Paula Morris. The deadline for entries is Tuesday, September 14th at noon ET.

-Click here for the winners of our past giveaways.


Click here to read all the contest details.

Series Feature: Universally Misunderstood by Kristin Billerbeck

In an interview with's Melanie Smith, Kristin Billerbeck discusses what inspired her latest work of fiction for young adults, PERFECTLY DATELESS, and shares her thoughts on some of the struggles today's teenagers face regarding peer pressure, conformity, and our current highly sexualized world. She also elaborates on the messages she hopes both readers and their parents will take away from her work, and hints at what's in store for main character Daisy Crispin in the next installment of the series.

PERFECTLY DATELESS: A Universally Misunderstood Novel by Kristin Billerbeck (Fiction)
Daisy Crispin has 196 days to find the right date for the prom. There's only one problem --- her parents won't let her date or even talk to a guy on the phone. Oh, and she's totally invisible at school, wears lame homemade clothes, and possesses no social skills. Okay, so maybe there's more than one problem.

Can she talk her parents into letting her go to the prom? Or will they succeed at their obvious attempts to completely ruin her life?

-Click here to read a review of PERFECTLY DATELESS.
-Click here to read an excerpt from PERFECTLY DATELESS.
-Click here to read the discussion guide for PERFECTLY DATELESS.


Click here to read our series feature for Universally Misunderstood.

Series Feature: The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt by Stephanie Morrill

Stephanie Morrill's latest book, SO OVER IT, is the final installment in the Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt trilogy, which centers on a confident, popular high school senior looking to turn over a new leaf. In this interview with's Alexis Burling, Morrill explains why she decided to create a protagonist so different from herself when she was in high school, and addresses some of the "controversial" topics covered in her books. She also reveals the real-life counterparts of her main characters, describes which scenes were the most difficult to write, and reveals why she's taking a well-deserved hiatus between projects.

THE REINVENTION OF SKYLAR HOYT Series by Stephanie Morrill(Fiction)
Welcome to the world of Skylar Hoyt, a high school senior whose exotic Hawaiian looks have propelled her to the height of the "in" crowd, but who's no longer sure that's where she really fits. New friends, old friends, a reluctant romance, and a family crisis swirl around Skylar as she tries to keep it together and figure out who she really wants to be.

-Read reviews of
-Read excerpts from


Click here to read our series feature for The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt.'s Beach Bag of Books Feature

Looking for some cool reads before summer ends? Here are 14 titles you'll want to consider. They are books that teens will love --- BEFORE I FALL by Lauren Oliver; THE CARRIE DIARIES by Candace Bushnell; CARTER'S BIG BREAK by Brent Crawford; THE GARDENER by S. A. Bodeen; GIRLS IN LOVE: A Summer Girls Novel by Hailey Abbott; THE KARMA CLUB by Jessica Brody; LIES: A Gone Novel by Michael Grant; THE LIFE OF GLASS by Jillian Cantor; NUM8ERS by Rachel Ward; PASSING STRANGE: A Generation Dead Novel by Daniel Waters; RADIANT SHADOWS: A Wicked Lovely Book by Melissa Marr; RUNAWAY: An Airhead Novel by Meg Cabot; STOLEN by Lucy Christopher; and SWIM THE FLY by Don Calame.

Congratulations to the five readers who were selected to receive a beach bag that includes the 14 books listed above and assorted summer goodies. Enjoy your prizes!

Click here to read more about our featured books.


Cool New Books for August

The major highlight of August’s Cool New Books roundup is, of course, MOCKINGJAY, the final installment of Suzanne Collins’s groundbreaking The Hunger Games trilogy, which will be available at the stroke of midnight on August 24th. Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. Other notable releases this month include THE THIN EXECUTIONER, in which Darren Shan takes readers on a thrilling, fast-paced journey into a nightmarish world where compassion and kindness are the greatest crimes of all; THE CLOCKWORK ANGEL, the first book in The Infernal Devices series, Cassandra Clare's brand new prequel trilogy to The Mortal Instruments; and I AM NUMBER FOUR by the mysterious Pittacus Lore, the launch of a gripping, action-packed series about an exceptional group of teens as they struggle to outrun their past, discover their future --- and live a normal life on Earth.

Click here to read our Cool New Books feature for August.

August's New in Paperback Roundup
August's roundup of New in Paperback titles includes BREAKING DAWN, the conclusion to Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Saga, which illuminates the secrets and mysteries of this spellbinding romantic epic; MELTING STONES, another suspenseful tale from bestselling fantasy author Tamora Pierce, who brings readers back to the world of the Circle of Magic quartet; THE MAZE RUNNER, a post-apocalyptic thriller by James Dashner in which a 16-year-old wakes up and finds himself surrounded by other boys of various ages --- trapped within a maze; LEVIATHAN, a departure from Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series that he describes as "a steampunk-zombie-airship adventure" set during World War I; and LOVE IS THE HIGHER LAW by David Levithan, a novel of loss and grief, but also one of hope and redemption, as the lives of three teens are altered forever following the tragic events of September 11, 2001.

Click here to see what's New in Paperback for August.


This Month's Reviews Reviews:


DANIEL X: DEMONS AND DRUIDS by James Patterson and Adam Sadler (Science Fiction)

Daniel X's hunt to eliminate each and every intergalactic criminal on Earth is always relentless, but this time, it's getting personal. Number Three on the List of Alien Outlaws takes the form of raging, soul-possessing fire. And fire transports Daniel back to the most traumatic event of his life --- the death of his parents. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.


-Click here to read an excerpt from DANIEL X: DEMONS AND DRUIDS.


THE GRIMM LEGACY by Polly Shulman (Fantasy/Action & Adventure)

Elizabeth has a new job at an unusual library --- a lending library of objects, not books. In a secret room in the basement lies the Grimm Collection. That’s where the librarians lock away powerful items straight out of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales. When the magical objects start to disappear, Elizabeth embarks on a dangerous quest to catch the thief before she can be accused of the crime --- or captured by the thief. Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood.

BRILLIANT by Rachel Vail (Fiction)

BRILLIANT, the final book in Rachel Vail's critically acclaimed sisterhood series, which includes LUCKY and GORGEOUS, follows Quinn through a summer of change as she discovers that while letting go is never easy, hanging on can be even harder. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.


GLIMPSE by Carol Lynch Williams (Fiction)

Twelve-year-old Hope's life is turned upside down when her older sister, Lizzie, becomes an elective mute and is institutionalized after trying to kill herself. Throughout the course of this lyrical and heartbreaking narrative, readers and Hope discover that the mother is prostituting Lizzie, and it’s up to Hope to bring the truth to light to save her sister. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.


VAMPIRE KISSES 7: LOVE BITES by Ellen Schreiber (Paranormal Romance)

As a mortal girl dating a vampire, Raven knows that love isn't always easy. Now that Alexander's parents have returned to Romania, Raven and her dreamy vampire boyfriend are happy to resume their cryptic romance. But soon another visitor comes knocking: Sebastian, Alexander's best friend, arrives for a stay at the mansion. Reviewed by Usha Reynolds.


FAT VAMPIRE: A Never Coming of Age Story by Adam Rex (Fiction)

Doug Lee is not your typical vampire. He is short, overweight, and feeds on the blood of cows. It doesn’t help that he can’t score with any high school girl, especially the new exchange student, or that the host of “Vampire Hunters” is desperate to hunt him down to improve ratings. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.


THE FOOL’S GIRL by Celia Rees (Historical Fiction)

Young and beautiful Violetta may be of royal blood, but her kingdom is in shambles when she arrives in London on a mysterious mission. Her journey has been long and her adventures many, but it is not until she meets the playwright William Shakespeare that she gets to tell the entire story from beginning to end. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

THE WAGER by Donna Jo Napoli (Fiction)

In this retelling of an old Sicilian fairy tale, the eruption of Mount Etna destroys a village and reduces a nobleman's station in life. The man becomes a beggar and lives off the land for a time, but the coming winter leaves him seriously exposed. In this opportune moment, the Devil materializes to strike a deal: The man will be provided with boundless riches in exchange for the willing surrender of his beauty. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.


BRUISER by Neal Shusterman (Fiction)

Tennyson wants his twin sister, Bronte, to stay away from “the Bruiser,” the resident bad boy. Brewster, though, has a reason for being an outcast, and the truth will change Bronte and Tennyson forever. Told from four different viewpoints, BRUISER is a chilling look at the impossible coming to life. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.


NOMANSLAND by Lesley Hauge (Dystopian Fantasy)

After the world has been scarred by war, a group of women seclude themselves on a remote island, perceiving their survival as totally dependent upon solidarity and isolation from men. But one day a company of female trackers comes across a dwelling containing forbidden objects, and the troupe becomes fascinated enough to dare question the foundations they've created to protect themselves. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

Graphic Novel Review:


SCOTT PILGRIM, Volume 6: SCOTT PILGRIM’S FINEST HOUR written and illustrated by Bryan Lee O'Malley

The final volume of Scott Pilgrim's adventure is here. Will his heroic side win out over his nefarious one? Or will he suffer the heartbreak of never knowing real love? Reviewed by Traci Glass.

Manga Reviews:

DEATH NOTE, Volumes 1-4 written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata

Light Yagami believes the world is a corrupt place and thinks he knows how to fix it: killing off all the criminals, one by one. He has in his possession a Death Note, a notebook that allows him to kill people by writing down their names. Reviewed by Danica Davidson.


YOU’RE SO COOL, Volumes 1-6 written and illustrated by YoungHee Lee

Clumsy, dorky Nan-Woo thinks her dreams have come true when she starts dating the classy Seung-Ha. But the real Seung-Ha is more of a jerk than a Prince Charming. Reviewed by Snow Wildsmith.


RATMAN, Volume 1 written and illustrated by Inui Sekihiko

Fifteen-year-old Shuto has high hopes for being a hero. But when he signs a contract without reading it, he ends up having to do the bidding of a villainous group. Reviewed by Danica Davidson.


Poll and Question: Books into Movies


Do you typically like to read the book before you see the movie on which it is based, or vice versa?


I like reading the book before seeing the movie.
I like seeing the movie before reading the book.
I don't have a preference.
I'm not sure.


Does having a film adaptation give you more incentive to read the book on which it is based?

I'm not sure.


-Click here to answer the poll.


What was your favorite movie that was based on a book, and what was your biggest disappointment?

-Click here to answer the question.



Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading --- and You Could Win TWO Books!

This contest period, one teen reader will be randomly chosen to win a copy of EXTRAORDINARY by Nancy Werlin and THE POISONS OF CAUX: THE TASTERS GUILD by Susannah Appelbaum. To put your name in the hat, submit your current reading list and ratings by completing the form here.

Click here for more details about Word of Mouth.


Have a great month...and make some time each day to read something you enjoy!

Our mailing address is:
The Book Report Network
250 W. 57th Street - Suite 1228
New York, New York 10107

--- Carol Fitzgerald for